chisotahn: Firebird with the text "Firebird's Child". (nanako is adorable x 1000)
[personal profile] chisotahn posting in [community profile] ikuzeaibou
Title: Signs of Love
Fandom: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Characters: Nanako and Souji, tiny appearances by Dojima and Yosuke.
Summary: Fill for [livejournal.com profile] badbadbathhouse: "I want sickeningly sweet Souji & Nanako fluff fic. Souji carries a sleeping Nanako up to her room and puts her to bed."

Notes: No real spoilers other than a side mention of events at the end of Golden Week. Cute fluff is cute, adorable Nanako is adorable, and... well! ♥ At last I feel as though I've made up for that terrible AU. (I'm sorry, Nanako-chan!)




Being a big girl is really hard sometimes.

Oh, things like making breakfast and doing the laundry aren't really hard, though other people seemed impressed by it. Those things are easy, and she doesn't mind doing them. The hard parts are the things nobody else ever sees - coming home from school to an empty house, getting apologetic phone calls instead of family dinners, and seemingly endless evenings spent with just her and the TV.

Currently, the hard part is falling asleep.

It's late at night. Nanako isn't sure how late; she's a little afraid to look at the clock, because if she actually knows what time it is, she might feel even more guilty about being curled up on the couch instead of in her bed where she belongs. All she knows is that her dad isn't home yet.

She isn't home alone tonight, at least. Her cousin is upstairs, that almost-stranger from the city who listens attentively at breakfast and sings along to the Junes commercials with her. He's really nice, but she's still not quite sure about him yet, though taking her to Junes with his friends earlier in the week made her feel a lot better about their canceled trip and missed boxed lunches.

He's studying, and he probably thinks she's in bed. She should be in bed - they had a good day today, with a real family dinner, and her dad even brought her a t-shirt from Junes as a present. Everything was perfect until the phone rang just before her dad could start the bedtime story... and then it was more apologies, and a quick kiss as he pulled on his coat, and then she was alone in her bedroom, the storybook abandoned, and Nanako couldn't help but feel a little abandoned too. It was scary, how fast everything could go from perfect to not.

Her bedroom now seems unbearably dark and empty. She tried to sleep anyway, to think about how nice the day had been, but the fragile comfort she'd enjoyed had been thoroughly broken, and all she did was toss and turn until she just couldn't stay in bed a moment longer. She did hesitate at the foot of the stairs as she crept guiltily out of her room, looking up at the light visible in the hall, but she decided against it. He's busy studying, busy being responsible. And she's not, because responsible girls, big girls, don't get scared of the shadows in the corners.

She's been waiting for her dad to come home for a long time. Earlier, she'd just sat on the couch, swinging her legs absently as she waited, certain that he'd walk through the door at any moment. Now, she's curled up on her side, couch pillow shoved under her, panda toy hugged tightly to her chest. She's almost falling asleep out of sheer exhaustion. School starts again tomorrow, and she'll still be tired in the morning, and that makes her feel guilty too.

And Dad still isn't here. He'll probably yell at her when he gets home, but that thought isn't quite enough to get her to go back into her room, because even if he yells at her he'll still be home.

Her eyes keep closing, even when she tells them not to.

The floorboards creak above her, and she hears footsteps - but that's Souji, not Dad coming in the door. She scrunches up a little more tightly, pressing her eyes shut as she hears the stairs squeak under her cousin's weight. Maybe he'll think she just fell asleep here by mistake, instead of being naughty, instead of being scared. Maybe he won't see her at all if she curls up small enough.

The footsteps pad quietly across the floor, then stop, and Nanako makes herself keep her eyes closed as she hears Souji walking towards her. "Nanako-chan?" he says, very quietly. She doesn't move.

There's a long pause, and then her cousin sighs. The next instant, she feels one of his hands on her shoulders, gently shifting her upwards so he can get his arms under her, lifting her up. Nanako almost makes a startled noise and opens her eyes, only just barely managing to keep quiet.

Once in a while her dad teases her about being almost too big to pick up anymore, but that doesn't seem to matter to Souji. He carries her easily, moving carefully up the single step and down the hallway towards her bedroom; Nanako's good at pretending, so she keeps her breathing even. She does slip up a little and loses her grip on the panda toy when Souji crouches to put her down on her futon, but he doesn't seem to notice. Instead, he gently settles her head on the pillow, fluffs the blanket, and tucks the panda in next to her.

Nanako opens her eyes just enough to catch the soft smile he gives her before standing up and turning to go; before he makes it to the door, though, she makes a quiet noise, hoping that it sounds like she's just waking up. "Mmm?"

Souji turns back to look at her immediately. "Oh, sorry - I didn't mean to wake you up."

"S'okay..." She sits up a little, with a yawn that's not entirely faked.

"You must have been tired, because you fell asleep out there on the couch," he says, with a quiet chuckle. "So I brought you back here."

"Really? That's silly," she informs him, then yawns again.

Souji grins. "A little, but that's okay. Good night, Nanako-chan."

"G'night," she replies, settling back into the futon with a bemused expression on her face. Even though her cousin is standing in the doorway, blocking some of the light from the hall, it still doesn't seem as dark in her bedroom anymore. She closes her eyes until she hears him move again, taking a few steps out into the hallway and closing the door halfway behind him.

It's then that the front door opens, and Nanako opens her eyes again, staring at the ceiling as she hears her father's voice. "Souji? What're you still doing up?"

"Ah... sorry," comes Souji's apologetic reply. "I was studying, and I guess I lost track of time."

"Hmph. Get to bed, or you'll end up like me. I'm a terrible example to follow, got that?" her dad grumbles, then sighs. "And Nanako?"

"She's fast asleep," Souji promises.

"At least one of us has some sense. Go on," her dad orders, and a moment later Nanako hears Souji's footsteps going up the stairs. Then her door creaks, and she quickly closes her eyes again, shifting to pull the blanket up over her chin.

"Hm. Good," she hears him say, just barely, and she smiles under the covers.


-------------

She's still tired the next morning, of course; Souji lets her sleep in as much as he dares, and when she wakes up breakfast is already ready. Nanako eats her toast and eggs as fast as she can, grabs her pink lunch bag out of the fridge, and scurries quickly towards school. She walks with her cousin most of the way, of course; at one point Souji's friend Yosuke creaks past them on his yellow bike, then stops and backs up a bit with eyebrows raised.

"You're running late? Is the world ending or something? Hey, Nanako-chan," he adds, with a grin; Nanako smiles back, a little shyly.

"We'll make it on time," Souji promises, shaking his head, amused.

"Hey, maybe I could give Nanako-chan a ride on my bike! Then she definitely won't be late," Yosuke begins, but Souji cuts him off.

"The first day back after vacation is bad enough without having to ride on your bike," he says, and Yosuke makes a face. They're almost at the floodplain now, and Souji stops walking to crouch down at Nanako's level just before the turnoff for her school. "You're all set?"

Nanako nods. "Yeah, I think so. Um. T-thanks!"

Souji smiles, then ruffles her hair just a little. "Have a good day at school."

Some of her own friends run past just then, and she hurries to catch up, waving at Souji as she goes.

And the morning is a little hard to get through, because she's still kind of tired and some of the answers are hard, but before she knows it, it's lunchtime. She's in the middle of negotiating a lunch trade with Takeyoshi-kun when she actually opens her lunch bag and pulls out a box that's definitely not the Junes bento she knows she put in there last night.

"Deal," Takeyoshi begins, reaching for the unfamiliar box, but she pulls it out of reach, a confused look on her face, then opens it carefully. It's absolutely not a Junes bento. Junes might be the best store in the world, but they don't mold onigiri into bunny shapes, or cut carrots into stars. Nanako stares at the box, astonished. Takeyoshi blinks, then immediately turns around to start haggling for a different lunch; it's obvious this one is now off the market.

"Wow, Nanako-chan! That's soooo cute," Miwa-chan squeals, coming up behind her and peering over her shoulder at the bento. "Who made it?"

"Uhm..." Nanako's pretty sure she knows, and as she reaches back into the bag to get her chopsticks, she finds a bit of paper wrapped around them. A note.

I hope this makes up for the boxed lunches, at least a little bit.

It's not signed, but she recognizes the handwriting anyway, and beams.

"Nanako-chan?" Miwa insists.

"Hehe... my big bro made it for me," Nanako says, proudly.

"But you don't have a big brother." Miwa gives her a skeptical look.

"Yeah, I do," she grins, and bites into the first onigiri. It's delicious.

Date: 2009-03-25 07:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aimakichan.livejournal.com
That was too adorable ♥

Date: 2009-03-26 05:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yellow-rawr.livejournal.com
*squeee* so cute~

Date: 2009-03-28 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] reversepedo.livejournal.com
THIS HAS NOT RECEIVED ENOUGH COMMENTS, I SAY
IT WAS SO ADORABLE OH GOD ; ; BORTHERLY LOVE AHHHHHH IT MADE MY HEART MELT ♥ ♥ ♥ SADFJKLDASF. /LOVES

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August 2012

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